Scythe

by

Neal Shusterman

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Scythe: Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Scythe Curie muses about whether there's ever been a time when people weren't bored. She thinks of how the news archives from the Age of Mortality make it seem like back then, people had reasons to do things. Life was scary, with people peddling drugs, killing without permission, and stealing cars. Now, nobody rages against the system. Curie wonders if this is why the Thunderhead allows for a bit of economic inequality, as it gives people something to strive for. Curie writes that while she doesn't want a return of crime, it'd be nice to have something else besides scythes to scare people.
Curie basically implies here that death—and by extension, the scythes that carry out death—is the only thing that scares people. Given what the reader has already seen in terms of Goddard, this seems pretty misguided from the start—people should be fearing corruption and abuse of power, even in this utopian society. Curie's lack of acknowledgement of this offers the possibility that, at least at the time of this writing, she's not aware of the corruption currently brewing in the Scythedom.
Themes
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
One afternoon in March, Rowan goes to visit Tyger and play basketball. Tyger shares that everyone in school thinks that Rowan will return to get revenge on the students. Tyger is shocked when Rowan says he can't play favorites and grant him immunity. Several other kids arrive, try to refuse to play, and then lose on purpose when they see Rowan's armband. Rowan is frustrated; the only person who challenges him now is Citra. He hates how afraid of him everyone is.
The exchange between Rowan and Tyger functions to show Rowan how much he's changing, even after only a few months training as a scythe. This works like Citra's family wedding did and impresses upon him that he's going to have to leave his old life behind in full if he's going to become a scythe.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Feeling rebellious, Rowan invites Tyger to come to Faraday's house since Faraday is gleaning in another city. Rowan briefly thinks he wants Tyger to meet Citra, but then realizes he doesn't want to take the chance that Citra will be attracted to him. Tyger is unimpressed by Faraday's house until Rowan shows him the weapons den. Tyger begins pulling pistols and blades off the wall, and Rowan realizes that this could get very dangerous. He uses a Bokator move to pin Tyger just as they hear the door open. Rowan slips out, sees that it's Citra returning from a run, and watches her step into the bathroom. He tells Tyger that it's Faraday and pushes him out the front door.
Tyger's idolization of the weapons and of being a scythe shows Rowan just how far removed the general population is from what scythes do. For Tyger, the weapons are cool and exciting; for Rowan and scythes like Faraday, the weapons are unfortunate and tragic tools to accomplish their heartbreaking job. Rowan shows that he's beginning to grasp this when he scares Tyger by telling him that Faraday is home. He knows that the idea of coming face to face with an angry scythe is terrifying for someone like Tyger.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
After three months, Citra has decided that she wants Faraday to choose her to be a scythe. She understands the importance of scythes and wants to live a life of purpose. Her biggest challenge is Bokator, which she learns from Scythe Yingxing. Yingxing took a vow of silence, and Citra muses that it seems that every scythe has given up something to atone for their job. Rowan asks her one day what she'd give up and notes that she's already giving up having a family, but Citra thinks that feels too far off to think about. She focuses on learning Bokator, which is silent and demanding. As she and Rowan spar, he pins her but she finds that she likes feeling his heart so close. It makes her angry.
Note that Citra's main reasoning for wanting to be a scythe is to live a life of purpose. After her training, she understands even more deeply that the rest of humanity is just existing and has little purpose. Within the logic of their world, scythes are the only people who have a purpose, even if what they do is morally repugnant to most people, including some of the scythes themselves. Despite this, Citra's realization that she has a crush on Rowan shows her that she's still a normal, if righteous, teen, and that she'll have to fight those impulses to become a scythe.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
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